Holidays in the Manor House a Volunteer Tradition


The grand mansion at Wildwood Preserve Metropark is decorated top to bottom by volunteers and ready for the opening of Holidays in the Manor House Saturday, December 3. The 41st annual event continues through Sunday, December 11, with something for everyone in the family.

The nine-day event is open each day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free.

Volunteers are placed throughout the house as stationary guides, welcoming and directing visitors on the self-guided tour of 32 displays. Other volunteers help with children’s activities at nearby Metroparks Hall, or by stoking the fires and supplying visitors with the cookies and marshmallows to make s’mores at the welcome tent.

How to Volunteer

Photo, Below: Metropark Honeymoon, 2nd floor, by Doug Strachn and Sue Matney, Strachn Bakery.

A record 27,000 visitors toured the house last year – and made 16,000 s’mores.

Holidays in the Manor House is a volunteer-driven event that has been a Toledo Tradition since the earliest days of Wildwood.

Following the passage of a levy to purchase the former Stranahan estate, which became Wildwood, volunteers decorated the house for the holidays as a thank-you to the public. The spirit of the event has remained the same for four decades.

The process of decorating the stately mansion begins almost a year in advance, when decorators submit proposals for displays to a committee, which makes the final selection. This year, decorators were asked to incorporate a Metroparks or nature theme in each display.

Decorations this year include Christmas at the Lake in the solarium, thanks to the members of the Garden Club Forum of Toledo and Whiteford Greenhouse. The club has decorated a room every year of the event.

Photo, Above: From a display in the lower level by Nature's Nursery.

Photo, Below: Santa Sees Sneaky Squirrels in his Workshop, 2nd floor Gentleman's closet, by Wild Birds Unlimited with Marcia and ken Zarecki.

First time decorators Penny and Matthew McCloskey incorporated their interest in ham radios into their display in the small flower room, while John Smith and Nick Wilson transformed a second floor bedroom into a vintage Christmas scene using a collection of Victorian dolls. Collections of Peanuts characters, Coca Cola advertising, Polish holiday traditions and treasured family heirlooms are all part of this year’s displays.

The large tree in the grand foyer of the house is a tribute to Ellen Biddle Shipman, the pioneering landscape architect who ran an all-female business in the 1930s and designed the Manor House formal garden.

Other organizations decorating rooms this year include Nature’s Nursery, Glendale Assisted Living, American Red Cross, Toledo Naturalist’s Association, the Stormy Petrels of Maumee Bay, the Metroparks Volunteer Trail Patrol and the Off Broadway Dance Company.

The Swanton Area Railroad and Model Club returns this year with its popular train display in the lower level of the house. This year, the club incorporated the nature theme with a display honoring the National Park Service on its 100th anniversary year.